Eighth edition of Fero Foundation grant to back research into Gastrointestinal Stromal Tumors

Barcelona, 12 May 2015. – VHIO´s César Serrano has been awarded with the 8th Fero Grant for research into the identification of critical molecular alterations in diverse metastases of patients with gastrointesinal stromal tumors via blood-based biopsies.

Presented this week during the Fero Foundation´s fundraising gala dinner in the spectacular setting of the National Art Museum of Calaunya (MNAC), this most coveted award provides support to projects with the potential for rapid application at clinical level, with special emphasis on promoting oncology research among young researchers.

The selected projected entitled New strategies against tumor heterogeneity in gastrointestinal stromal tumors: early detection of resistant subpopulations for rotation of targeted therapies, will receive 70.000 EUR in funding and will be spearhead by César Serrano, Head of Translational Sarcoma Research at VHIO.

Gastrointestinal Stromal Tumors (GISTs), although only representing 1% of all gastrointestinal cancers, are the most common type of sarcoma. GISTs are characterized by their dependency for growth and progression on the malignant activation of the KIT gene, which establishes these tumors as model examples for the study of anti-cancer targeted therapies.

All tumors release tumor DNA into the bloodstream. Through the genetic analysis of a blood sample, the profile of the dominant mutations in the tumor can be characterized and ´policed´. Given that biopsy of all the metastases of each patient is virtually impossible, liquid biopsy facilitates critical information surrounding the genetic heterogeneity of tumors more simply and rapidly, and importantly for patients, less invasively.

As César observes, “in the current era of precision medicine in cancer, research breakthroughs have now rendered biopsies more precise. Blood-based biopsies not only detect cancer mutations, track disease progression and circulating tumor cells that drive metastasis, as well as predict response to therapy, they also facilitate serial samples to identify tumor genomic alterations not only in real time, but over time.”

This year´s Fero Grant Selection Committee was presided by internationally renowned oncologist, Carlos López Otín, and comprised of a further four thought leaders in oncology: José Baselga, Andrés Cervantes, Luis Paz-Ares, and Josep Tabernero.

The Fero Foundation was created in 2001 by its current President, José Baselga, President-Elect of the American Association for Cancer Research (AACR), Physician-in-Chief of the Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center (MSKCC), New York, and President of VHIO´s Scientific Committee.


For more information please contact: Amanda Wren, Director of Communication, the Vall d´Hebron Institute of Oncology (VHIO), Tel. +34 695207886, Email: awren@vhio.net.

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